We are saddened to report the passing of Milton Norman, a committed friend to Project FIND over the course of the past twenty years. As always an exemplar of board engagement, Joie de vivre and sartorial understatement, we will miss his humor, compassion and insightfulness. What follows below is a profile we did on Milton just recently.
For over a decade, Milton Norman sat on the Board of Directors of Project FIND, serving as both its Treasurer and Secretary. Project FIND is honored to continue to count Milton as one of its strongest supporters and pleased to offer a glimpse of this enduring relationship.
“My son volunteered me,” said Milton about his introduction to Project FIND. “I was the Chairman of the Riverside Park Conservancy at the time, and I was finishing up seven years with that organization. My son happened to be friendly with Project FIND’s then Executive Director [Cynthia Dial], and he told her to put me on the board if she needed me.”
Through his son, Steve Norman, a leader in the public housing sector and current Executive Director of the King County Housing Authority in Seattle, Milton knew well how precarious housing can be for older adults and the importance of affordable housing for the health, safety, and progress of individuals and communities.
“My first impression was that it was an organization dedicated to helping people who really needed help,” said Milton.
Unlike many of Project FIND’s board members at the time of his tenure, Milton came to the organization with no direct experience in housing and housing policy. Instead, he had studied at St. John's University School of Law, practicing for 67 years, from 1948 until his retirement in 2015.
But while Milton found it challenging to learn the nuances of the industry, and still finds it complicated today, he knew that his ability to ask the right questions was of value to the organization. His legal expertise was also an asset, helping Project FIND analyze documents, craft resolutions, and develop strategies to protect and promote its programs.
Milton was also intimately aware of the advantages of independent living facilities like Project FIND, having gone through the nursing home process with his mother and mother-in-law.
“If we can keep people in a home environment, they will live longer,” said Milton.
For Milton, the activities that Project FIND offers to older New Yorkers is a vital resource, and he believes that Project FIND is as needed today as it was when he first became involved with the organization over 20 years ago.
“Project FIND has become more important because people are living longer,” said Milton. “Aging is a two-edged sword. It can be wonderful if you’re healthy, but if you’re sick, it’s no good for you or your loved ones. There will always be people who need help.”